Religious Exploration and Conversion in Forced Displacement: A Case Study of Syrian Muslim Refugees in Lebanon Receiving Assistance from Evangelical Christians

Article


Kraft, K. 2017. Religious Exploration and Conversion in Forced Displacement: A Case Study of Syrian Muslim Refugees in Lebanon Receiving Assistance from Evangelical Christians. Journal of Contemporary Religion. 32 (2), pp. 221-235.
AuthorsKraft, K.
Abstract

The idea of religious conversion as a break with one’s past and a change in identity and
belonging, is precarious when considering religious practices in a context of displacement.
Forced migrants’ sense of identity often becomes volatile when social and political pressures
lead them to break with various aspects of their past lives. During a season of displacement,
refugees and forced migrants may begin to attend religious meetings of a tradition different
to that of their family, or alternately cease engaging in religious activities at all. Using the
humanitarian engagement of Lebanese Evangelical churches with Syrian Muslim refugees as
a case study, this paper explores some of the unique dynamics in religious engagement in
refugee communities. Many Syrian refugees began to attend church and study Christianity,
and this did indeed seem to have some sort of “spiritual” influence on them, though few
considered making a more radical change in their identity.

KeywordsHumanitarianism; conversion; migration; displacement; identity; spirituality
JournalJournal of Contemporary Religion
Journal citation32 (2), pp. 221-235
ISSN1353-7903
Year2017
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Accepted author manuscript
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1080/13537903.2017.1298904
Publication dates
Print11 Apr 2017
Publication process dates
Deposited02 Mar 2016
Accepted23 Feb 2016
Accepted23 Feb 2016
Copyright informationThis is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Contemporary Religion on 11.04.17, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/13537903.2017.1298904
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